Wednesday, 23 May 2018


labyrinthine: the hand-rendered mazes and patterns of Polish architect Wacław Szpakowski

american pastoral: acclaimed writer Philip Roth has passed away, aged 85

unanswered questions: a transcript Facebook CEO’s session before the European Union Parliament, just days before the GDPR goes into effect

pivot: geopolitical power shift perhaps captured in the juxtaposition of two seminal summits

grids and greenways: a plush rug maps out the borough of Manhattan

data-points: US leaders analyse the causes of gun violence  

blopper reel: outtakes from Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas


Our gratitude to Nag on the Lake for introducing us to the Franco-American industrial design pioneer Raymond Loewy whose multidisciplinary vision informs a magnitude of iconic brands and defining how form follows function.
Among his contributions are the interior of the Boeing Stratoliner, various locomotives, coaches, the Sears Coldspot refrigerator, the Schick electric razor, the Lincoln Continental, a jukebox, a version of the Coca-Cola bottle and the Coke can, Lucky Strikes cigarette packaging, subway cars plus the interior and living space of Skylab and the Concorde. Additionally, Loewy created logos for TWA, SPAR, Exxon, Shell and many others. Go over to Nag on the Lake at the link up top to see an insightful 1979 CBS television interview with Loewy, dubbed by the press as the Man who Shaped America.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018


Rummaging through the archives of the intrepid explorers at Amusing Planet, we came across a rather singular decommission of a former US defensive installation that effectively was only in service for a period of one day before being officially mothballed.
The remaining ensemble of buildings, including the pyramid-like housing of the Missile Site Radar and underground silos that held anti-ballistic missiles (rockets designed to disable in-coming weapons), of the Stanley R Mickelsen Safeguard Complex outside of the Grand Forks Air Base in the state of North Dakota were eventually purchased by a local Hutterite Colony (one of the Plain peoples) at an auction for half a million dollars in 2012 and was built in order to defend the arsenal of Minuteman missiles kept at the Air Base. Provisions of the 1972 Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I treaty) with the Soviet Union allowed signatories to equip themselves with a limited number of such anti-ballistic defences and the base in North Dakota was to be the first component of a large shielding, network. The base came on-line in April 1975 but would not achieve full operational capacity until 1 October 1975; the following day, the US legislature voted to deactivate the programme, recognising that militarily, it had little merit and could not justify the costs. After nearly a decade of development, Congress became convinced that the system devised by Bell Labs was a folly that would not deliver under actual assault and Safeguard was defunded. The new owners—who are attested pacifists—are charged with preserving the historic character of the site but I suppose otherwise are allowed to use it as they see fit. Be sure to visit Amusing Planet at the link up top to learn more and see a whole gallery of pictures of the base.


Though I’d venture that the US has been undergoing its moment of constitutional crisis since installing a morally and financially bankrupt television reality show host and allowing his syndicate family to capture a purchase in government that will be a challenge to excise from their greedy, self-absorbed little hands, and though nothing comes as a surprise anymore in a world dilated by Trumpian times, this latest assault against justice and the primacy of law is pretty chilling.
Backed into a corner, Trump is trying to dismantle and discredit the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling by sewing the suggestion of partisanship behind it (isonomy is the principle that the law applies equally to all and that no one is above it), masking his own treason of unqualified narcissism that even bullying himself into a leadership role and its subsequent abdication of the responsibility that goes with it cannot even sate. Others in government and international observers know it’s the refuge of autocrats to pervert justice for their own gain and to silence dissent but those in a position to do something to reign in Trump are far too deep in the pockets of the lobbyists to speak up and the international community is recognising the fecklessness of faded power and influence. Omission and tacit-approval are indeed how the inviolable is violated.

Monday, 21 May 2018

playbill and pressbook

Though honoured and acknowledged throughout his career that spanned seven decades and intersected with the canon of every major producer, director and actor in Hollywood, the name Bill Gold, who passed away over the weekend at age 97, may not register for many though his signature style as the public face of cinema’s coming-attractions most certainly will be instantly recognisable. Establishing himself with a commission to do the publicity posters for Yankee Doodle Dandy in 1942, Gold created thousands of display materials for the box-office and bill-board, most prolific during the 1970s and 1980s—though coming out of semi-retirement to design posters for Mystic River and J. Edgar. Read a retrospective and sample a gallery of more of Gold’s iconic work at this American Film Institute profile from 2016.